As usual, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference athletes and teams excelled at the NCAA II National Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend at Pittsburg, Kan.
RMAC athletes won nine events while the Western State and Adams State women placed second and fifth, respectively, and the Adams State men were third to lead the conference entries in the team standings.
Two of the event winners from the conference were both double winners and repeat champion. Alicja Konieczek, a native of Poland and a senior at Western State, won both the mile and the 3000 meters for the second year in row, and Sydney Gidabudy, a Californian and a junior at Adams State, won both the 3000 and 5000 meters.
Gidabudy won both the 3000 and 5000 as a freshman in 2016 and set the national record in the 3000 and was third in the 5000 last year. Konieczek also anchored the winning distance medley relay team.
Another repeat winner this year was Adams State junior Dianna Johnson in the 60-meter dash. She is from Jamaica.
Other champions from RMAC schools this year included Thomas Stains, a sophomore at Colorado State-Pueblo. He set the national record while winning the 800 meters in 1:47.23. He grew up in Colorado Springs, but both of his parents were distance runners for England at the 1988 Olympics.
Both of the conference’s other event winners were from Colorado Mesa, where Brad Gamble, an assistant track and field coach at CSC for three years and the head track and field coach for three years before moving to Grand Junction late last spring, is the head coach. The Mavericks’ Nolan Ellis won the pole vault at 17-2 ¾ and Spencer Jahr was the heptathlon champion with 5,552 points.
Connor McLain of Colorado Mines cleared the same height as Ellis, but had one more miss and had to settle for second.
Both Mesa athletes are juniors. Ellis is from Parker, Colo., and Jahr is a graduate of Kelly Walsh High in Casper. Jahr’s highest finish in any of the seven heptathlon events was third in both the 60 meters and the shot put. He also was fourth in the long jump and fifth in the high hurdles, high jump and pole vault and eighth in the 1000 meters, but won the title by 16 points.
Gamble was the NCAA II heptathlon champion in 2011 when he was a graduate student at Chadron State.
Besides Chadron State’s Isaac Grimes, who was sixth in the long jump (see additional story), two athletes from Nebraska colleges also placed at the national meet last weekend. Michaela Dendinger of Wayne State was the silver medalist in both the shot put (53-1 ½) and weight throw (67-0) and Bailey Stapleman of Nebraska-Kearney was seventh in the pole vault (16-6 ¾). Both are seniors.
Team scoring—1, West Texas A&M, 53; 2, Western State, 40; 3, Lincoln, (Mo.), 36; 4, Mary (N.D.) 31; 5, Adams State, 30. Also—Colo.-Colorado Springs, 18; Colo. Mines, 18; and New Mexico Highlands, 1.
60—1, Dianna Johnson, Adams State, +7.26 seconds.
800—3, Skylyn Webb. UCCS, 2:08.77; 8, Bailey Sharon, Western State, 2:12.36.
Mile—1, Alicja Konieczek, WSC, 4:48.33; 2, Roisin Flanagan, Adams, 4:49.05; 4, Chloe Cook, Colo. Mines, 4:50.29; 5, Molly Klotz, UCCS, 4:50.68; 6, Kayla Wooten, UCCS, 4:50.74; 8, Molly Riecher, Colo. Mines, 4:51.71.
3000—1, Alicia Konieczak, WSC, 9:29.39; 3, Aneta Konieczek, WSC, 9:30.19; 4, Eilish Flanagan, Adams, 9:30.92; 8, Malena Grover, Adams, 9:31.71.
5000—3, Malina Grover, Adams, 16:27.94; 6, Sophie Seward, WSC, 16:39.18.
Distance medley relay—1, Western State, +11:19.98; 6, Colorado Springs, 11:33.16.
Triple jump—8, Tashay Hunter, NMHU, 40-1 ¼.
Pentathlon—7, Kaija Crowe, UCCS, 3,762 points.
1, Pittsburg State (Kan.), 49; 2, Tiffin (Ohio), 48; 3, Adams State, 44; 4, Ashland (Ohio), 40.5; 5, Texas A&M-Commerce. Also—CSU-Pueblo, 22; Colorado Mesa, 20; Colorado Mines, 20; Colorado Christiian, 5; Colorado-Colorado Springs, 4; 47, Chadron State, 3.
800—1, Thomas Staines, CSU-Pueblo, *+1:47.23; 5, William Mayhew, UCCS, 1:50.32; 6, Pat Weaver, Colo. Mines, 1:50.62.
Mile—3, George Kelly, Adams, 4:13.71; 4, Evan Verbal, Colo. Christian, 4:14.00; 5, Elias Gedyon, Adams, 4:14.06.
3000—1, Sydney Gidabuday, Adams, +8:01.26; 6, Derrick Williams, CSU-P; 8:08.63; 8, Kale Adams, Adams, 8:11.62.
5000—1, Sidney Gidabuday, Adams, +13:56.99; 4, Chandler Reed, Adams, 14:21.71; 5, Josh Hoskinson, Colo. Mines, 14:12.98; 7, Grant Colligan, Colo. Mines, 14:16.91; 8, Nick Sevcik, Colo. Mines, 14:17.45.
Distance medley relay—2, CSU-Pueblo, 9:41.84; 4, Adams, 8:44.37; 7, Colo. Mines, 9:54.71.
Shot put—6, Samuel Reid, Adams, 59-4 ¼.
Long jump—6, Isaac Grimes, CSC, 24-9.
Pole vault—1, Nolan Ellis, Colo. Mesa, 17-2 ¾; 2, Connor McLean, Colo. Mines, 17-2 ¾.
Heptathlon—1, Spencer Jahr, Colo. Mesa, 5,552 points.
+Facility record. *National record.